jump to navigation

Gaming History You Should Know – What Happened to America’s Electronics Stores April 4, 2021

Posted by Maniac in Gaming History You Should Know, Uncategorized.
add a comment

It’s Sunday, that means it is time for a new look at Gaming History You Should Know. In this series, we look at some of the best independently produced video content from across the web. Today, we will take you back to the recent past. Before the world had easy access to the internet, the most exciting way to learn about the latest technology was to go shopping…in a store. As late as thirty years ago, retail stores that sold electronic and computer equipment were plentiful and easy to come by. When you needed anything ranging from new software to a spare part, you could just go and pick it up. Fast forward to the year 2021, and almost all electronic retail stores are gone, forcing people to make almost all their purchases online.

What happened to all of these stores? Radio Shack, CompUSA, Circuit City, and now Fry’s are no longer with us. Was it poor management, economic factors, or something else? The 8-Bit Guy, one of my favorite channels on YouTube, took a look at all of these now-defunct stores and gives his own thoughts as to what happened to them.

Happy Easter!

Gaming History You Should Know – The Story Behind Those Pikachu Volkswagens, The PokePatrol March 28, 2021

Posted by Maniac in Gaming History You Should Know, Uncategorized.
add a comment

It’s Sunday, and given the fact that Spring has sprung and Easter is just a week away I decided it was time to talk about something yellow. Welcome back to Gaming History You Should Know, where we highlight some of the best independently produced gaming history videos from across the web. Fasten your seatbelts, we’ve got a great one for all of you today!

In 1998, The Pokémon Company was preparing to launch Pokémon in the United States. To get the word out, a special VHS tape was distributed to Nintendo Power subscribers and Toys R Us customers which gave a preview of all things Pokémon. Produced to appear like it existed in the Pokémon world, the VHS tape previewed the new television series, the upcoming games, and the toys.

Towards the end of the VHS tape, Ash’s Aunt Hillary announced a fleet of Pikachu-Themed Volkswagen Beetles, dubbed by fans as the “PokéPatrol”, would be driving across the country and hosting exclusive Pokémon events wherever they stopped. These cars looked cool as hell, and since the event concluded they have gained an almost iconic status alongside the early days of Pokémon fandom.

Sadly, despite the fact that these cars were launched twenty years ago, there isn’t a lot of information about the PokéPatrol. Where did they come from? Where did they visit? What could you do at one of their events? And finally, what happened to them? Pokémon researcher and historian Mewisme700 has done fantastic history videos on the early years of Pokémon. Her video on the history of these original Pokémon Volkswagen cars is second to none. You don’t get much more yellow than this.

Special thanks to Mewisme700 for letting us feature their work here today. If you’re interested in seeing more of her work, she’s done some great early Pokémon history videos including this video about the history of the (now closed) Pokemon Center New York. Everyone should give her channel a watch!

Gaming History You Should Know – History of Metal Gear March 14, 2021

Posted by Maniac in Gaming History You Should Know, Uncategorized.
add a comment

Happy Sunday welcome back to Gaming History You Should Know. Traditionally, we highlight some of the best independently produced gaming documentaries from across the web and we’ve got a great documentary to highlight for you guys today!

I don’t have much of a chance to talk about it on the site these days, but I owe a lot of my love and interest in console gaming to the original PS1 game Metal Gear Solid. From the first moment I played the introduction demo over at my cousin’s house and saw the game’s story and presentation laid out over the first hour of the game I was absolutely hooked. I broke my “never console only PC” rule and picked up a PS1 of my own so I could play the game for myself and never regretted it. I unlocked both endings and even earned the tuxedo suit. However, after completing everything I could in the game I found myself wanting more. I needed to know if there would be a sequel so in late 1999 I devoted myself to learning more about the game and the history of the people who made it.

On the first day of E3 2000, I was one of the first people to view the Metal Gear Solid 2 announcement trailer, and from then on I followed the gaming industry with great interest. More games would follow, and we would also receive ports and remasters over the years. If you ever wanted a complete history of the Metal Gear series, Channel Requires DLC has an ongoing series called From Pixels to Polygons, where they’ve highlighted the history of franchises ranging from Legend of Zelda to Metroid. Today, we’re going to highlight their video about one of my favorite franchises of all time, Metal Gear Solid. Take a look:

Hope you enjoyed this incredible history lesson. Special thanks to Chanel Requires DLC for letting us feature them on this site. If you’re interested in checking out another one of their Pixels to Polygons videos you can watch their Metroid video here and their Legend of Zelda video here.

Metal Gear Solid is out now for the PS1. It is part of the PlayStation Classic. Metal Gear Solid 2 and Metal Gear Solid 3 were released on the PS2, PS3 and Xbox 360. Metal Gear Solid 4 was released exclusively on the PS3.

Gaming History You Should Know – History of Medieval Times February 14, 2021

Posted by Maniac in Gaming History You Should Know, Uncategorized.
add a comment

It’s Valentine’s Day, and I’m sure many of you (under normal circumstances) would be interested in seeking fun experiences to share with the special people in your life. May I suggest a chicken dinner and joust? Welcome back to Gaming History You Should Know, where we highlight some of the best independently produced gaming related documentaries. Today, we’re going to talk about an experience that made you feel like you were INSIDE the game, Medieval Times.

Medieval Times is a dinner theater event, heavily inspired by the classic stories of battling knights. For a fixed price (reduced for children), you could watch a live joust and armored combat show while having a full dinner. YouTube Channel Midway to Main Street, which details great theme park history videos, produced this great video on the history of the venue. You can check it out below:

I live in a state that is the absolute last to get any kind of business, so the first time I ever heard of Medieval Times was in the Jim Carey film The Cable Guy (Ed Note: Pretty underrated film if you ask me). I have to admit, when the world returns to some semblance of normalcy, this is a place I’d like to check out. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Gaming History You Should Know – Photon February 7, 2021

Posted by Maniac in Gaming History You Should Know, Uncategorized.
add a comment

It’s Sunday, and that means it’s time for another Gaming History You Should Know, where we highlight some of the best independently produced documentaries on the history of gaming. In honor of the Super Bowl, I felt like highlighting the origins of a competition meant for gamers, Laser Tag.

One of the things I’ve missed the most since most of the world has been forced to stay home is Laser Tag. If you’ve never played the game, the rules are simple. You, along with a large group of other players, are given a harmless laser weapon strapped to a set of armor covered in sensors. Your objective is to use your laser to aim for your opponents’ sensors. The trick is, the game is usually played in a futuristic inspired arena, and barriers, mirrors and traps you will need to navigate around can be placed between you and your peers. It is the closest thing the real world has to a multiplayer death match, and lacks the extreme pain and risk of injury playing paintball does. In the event I’m handed a working sensor suit, I have single handedly won 16-player games on many occasions (and still have the score sheets to prove it).

But how long has Laser Tag been a thing? I remember it taking over in the early 90s under the name Q-Zar, but apparently the game has been played as early as the 1980s. Photon, a specific version of the game with unique rules and a unified design, jumped into the Laser Tag market at that time. It was accompanied by toys, a home version, and eventually a television show! Apparently, an episode of The Tomorrow People was not the first time a game of laser tag was shown on television.

The guys over at the YouTube Channel Toy Galaxy have always been a great channel for the history of Toys, Games and Collectibles, and Photon looks like it meets all three of those things. If you wanted to know what inspired Laser Tag, you need to give this a watch.

Gaming History You Should Know – History of Cyberpunk January 31, 2021

Posted by Maniac in Gaming History You Should Know, Uncategorized.
add a comment

It’s Sunday, you know what that means, time for an all-new Gaming History You Should Know, where we highlight some of the best independently produced gaming documentaries from all over the web. Today, we’re going to highlight the genre that was a big part of my first PC gaming memories, and has seen a resurgence this year, Cyberpunk!

The folks over at Indigo Gaming produced this incredible documentary which highlights all of the great Cyberpunk works of art produced over the past four decades! I had assumed I knew the history of Cyberpunk, and then I watched THIS.

Honestly, I could see more episodes of this series being produced in the future. I wish we could see more of those B-movies referenced in Part 2. Growing up with access to HBO in the mid-90s I certainly remember films like Cyber-Tracker and Retroactive. Anybody else plan to seek some of these movies and games out now?

Gaming History You Should Know – The Failure of New Coke January 17, 2021

Posted by Maniac in Gaming History You Should Know, Uncategorized.
add a comment

It’s Sunday, time for a new Gaming History You Should Know, a series where we highlight some of the best independently produced documentaries about the history of gaming. Today, we’re going to be talking about one of the biggest failures in the history of capitalism, which had gone on to serve as a stark reminder to all successful companies ever since. That’s right you guessed it, we’re going to talk about the time New Coke was released.

I know what you’re thinking, New Coke is a soda, it has nothing to do with gaming whatsoever, so why are we highlighting it here? Oh my, you sweet dear. Gamers have been drinking soda while gaming since the dawn of the hobby, and while everyone has their own personal preferences (Bawls, Mountain Dew, Pepsi) we cannot dismiss the ongoing success of the Coca-Cola Company, and their line of products including Coca-Cola Classic, Sprite and Diet Coke. In fact, programming god John Carmack was well known for his love of drinking down Diet Coke while working on his games at id Software, and I’m sure he isn’t alone.

Coca-Cola had been a successful company and known as the US’s favorite soda for nearly a century. However, by the 80s, heavy competition was starting to get distributed nationwide. Pepsi, a rival cola, had increased its market share, and many consumers believed that was due to the fact Pepsi tasted better than Coke. Coke, after doing tons of blind taste testing, believed they found a new beverage formula that tasted better than Pepsi, and that new beverage could wipe Pepsi out.

With this new flavor in mind, The Coca-Cola Company announced they would be changing the taste of Coke to this new focus tested soda, and branded it New Coke. Obviously, it didn’t work, and the company reversed course. After its fall, New Coke would go on to be nearly every comedian’s analogy for failure. Some people even assumed it was some nefarious trick pulled by the company to increase sales in the long term by intentionally releasing a bad product in the short term to trick consumers into thinking they may lose out on restocking their favorite beverage. In fact, most people remember that train of thought being the inspiration for a Futurama joke in the episode where the characters visit the Slurm factory.

Was there more to this story? Was it a conspiracy? YouTube icon Company Man, who has discussed everything from the demise of beloved toy stores to the origins of Dippin Dots, produced a fantastic documentary about the origins and the fallout of New Coke. If you’re a fan of Coca-Cola or not, you should totally give it a watch!

Let’s be honest, this whole fight was over personal taste, and that’s subjective. Every person will have their own personal preferences, and there’s nothing wrong with that. However, this seemed to be a rare case of EVERYONE universally agreeing they didn’t want Coke to change, and the company had to bow to their consumers’ will.

Did we ever see New Coke again? Yes, in many forms. For a while, cans of New Coke would share store shelf space next to the (now rebranded) Coca-Cola Classic, until its supply ran out. There was a push to bring it back during the 90s, and people might remember seeing bottles of something called Coke II at their supermarket at that time. Due to its poor label design, I incorrectly assumed it was some kind of store brand knock-off and never purchased it but apparently Coke II was New Coke. More recently, Coca-Cola partnered with Netflix to promote Coke during the launch of Stranger Things season 3. The show, if you’re unfamiliar with it, is a period piece and that specific season happened to take place at the same time New Coke launched. While they couldn’t actually SELL New Coke (maybe there was an issue with it being approved by the FDA for sale) they gave it away during many points of that summer, including to people who visited the Atlanta plant.

I actually still have a can of the stuff hanging around somewhere. If there’s a demand, I could do a taste test video of it down the road.

Gaming History You Should Know – History of Tamagotchi January 10, 2021

Posted by Maniac in Gaming History You Should Know, Uncategorized.
add a comment

Happy Sunday everyone, time for another Gaming History You Should Know, where we highlight some of the best independently produced gaming history videos from across the web. Today, we’re going back to the 90s to tell a story about a well known gaming property that influenced an entire industry.

Most kids of the 90s remember Tamagotchi. Released by Bandai, it was a simple LCD game that allowed you to create and care for a virtual pet. You could feed it, clean up after it, and play simple games with it. The graphics weren’t the best, even for the time, but the hardware was inexpensive and designed around the concept of portability and interactivity.

YouTube Channel Billiam, who I’ve seen produce some incredible videos about older electronic devices from the late 90s and early 00s, made this great video about the Tamagotchi you all need to check out. Maybe after watching it you’ll see the appeal of the gameplay, or if you’re like me you’ll find the technology behind it quaint. Check it out below:

I know that the video showed a very simple game that might even look primitive in the standards of today’s smart devices. However, let’s be honest, your smart device may be powerful, fast, and have a pretty screen, but it requires constant recharges over the course of a week. By choosing to use simple hardware, Bandai gave the Tamagotchi long battery life, a simple but clean interface, and a potential for device interconnectivity using IR or NFC.

Since its release, virtual pet games have mostly moved to smartphones and tablets. However, it’s hardware design lives on and we’ve seen companies ranging from Sony, Sega and even The Pokémon Company try to copy it.

Gaming History You Should Know – History of Workboy, GameBoy’s Unreleased PDA Peripheral January 3, 2021

Posted by Maniac in Gaming History You Should Know, Uncategorized.
add a comment

Happy New Year everyone, welcome back to Gaming History You Should Know, where we highlight some of the best independently produced gaming history content from across the web. Today, we’re going to be talking about some gaming history that has been long since forgotten, mostly for the fact it was never released.

While most people use their smartphones and tablets to manage their day to day notes and communication, smartphones as we know them did not exist before 2007 when the iPhone was first released. However, pocket sized electronic devices capable of note taking and rudimentary wireless data exchange were available since the early 90s, we called them PDAs.

PDAs, short for Personal Digital Assistant, were tiny computers capable of storing electronic notes, as well as include some basic programs including an address book, calendar and calculator. Since PDAs were powered by simple batteries, you would need to regularly back it up to your PC or Mac so not to lose data. The most famous PDA was the Palm Pilot, but Apple had their own PDA called the Newton.

Being small, portable computers capable of storing data and running programs, PDAs were not cheap. They may run off store bought batteries but their hardware still required a low power CPU, static RAM (for storage), and a monochrome LCD screen. This alone would put a PDA price at around $150-300 USD. However, a better option was on the horizon. At the start of the 90s, a handheld gaming device was taking over the world. Called the Game Boy, it was priced at around $80USD and featured a monochrome screen, several interface buttons, a CPU, a sound chip, a serial port, and the ability to run an enormous library of games through expandable ROM cartridges (called Game Paks), the Game Boy was every kid’s essential device for a family road trip.

A company called Fabtek was interested in answering an important question, “Could we add the capabilities of a PDA to the hardware of a Game Boy and deliver a product that could be cost competitive in a time PDAs were seeing incredible use by the enterprise market?” Enter, the WorkBoy. Unfortunately, despite being previewed in an issue of Nintendo Power, it was never released.

Did You Know Gaming, one of the biggest channels in the history of YouTube, produced this thirty minute webisode about the history of this unreleased peripheral. Check it out:

Sorry about the lack of consistent content over the holiday season, you can be sure that regular uploads will resume this week. We’ve got an upcoming written game review, an essay, and at least one new video on the way!

Gaming History You Should Know – How Catherine Became a Professional eSport December 6, 2020

Posted by Maniac in Gaming History You Should Know, Uncategorized.
add a comment

It’s Sunday and that means it’s time for a new Gaming History You Should Know, where we discuss and highlight some of the best fan produced documentaries about the history of gaming! Today we are going to be talking about one our favorite games of all time in one of the most unusual ways. We make it no secret we loved the game Catherine with its incredible story, art style and puzzles. However, one thing we haven’t really talked about when it comes to this game is a part of the game that at first glance seemed tacked on as an afterthought, its competitive 2-player mode.

Now, we are hardly eSports players here (unless you count Quake 2 or Unreal Tournament LAN parties back in the late 90s) but eSports have grown to become the biggest competitions in the world, with huge prize money and die hard fans. One of the biggest recognized competitive events is EVO, which regularly hosts fighting game competitions that pit the best video game players in the world against each other. As a joke, Catherine was added to the event’s game list. It was expected to be a joke, until some of the players started to actually play. The crowds went absolutely nuts at just how good the gameplay was.

So how did a game with no online multiplayer become one of the biggest competitive games? Enter YouTube channel Akshon Esports, which produces INCREDIBLE videos about the history of various competitive events. They produced this documentary about what brought Catherine into the world of eSports, and how it is doing to this day.

Catherine is out now for PS3, Xbox 360 and PC. Catherine: Full Body is out now for Nintendo Switch and PS4.